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Starting Point

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Texas 54, Boston 51, Us 29, John 17, U.s. 9, John Berman 9, West Texas 8, Chris Cuomo 7, George Howell 6, Christine 6, Chicago 6, South Korea 6, Washington 6, Dallas 6, Waco 5, Elizabeth Cohen 4, Martin Savidge 4, Scott & White 4, Fema 4, Jennifer Delgado 4,
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  CNN    Starting Point    News/Business. The days  
   top news and events. New.  

    April 18, 2013
    4:00 - 6:00am PDT  

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some of the things that i've been told, some of the things i've seen are unbearable. >> there is a small community. less than 3,000 people, but they are fighting their best. they have the fire somewhat under control. the surrounding town of waco helping out. we've been getting updates throughout the morning. search and rescue, as we said, very active there. >> expecting a live update from the scene in west, texas, at any moment. meanwhile, here in boston, this investigation here does continue and what's being called by authorities as a possible breakthrough in the bombing case. investigators right now looking into two people who they say may be connected. this all happening as the president prepares to attend an interfaith prayer service here this morning. >> all this news going on on this morning, thursday, april 18th, this special edition of "starting point" begins right now.
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okay to this special edition of "starting point" live here in boston. >> we want to welcome our viewers watching us both in the united states and all around the world. >> a big day of news this morning. we begin, of course, with the breaking news from texas this morning. search and rescue teams working through the night in west, texas, which is near waco, following a massive explosion at a fertilizer plant. leveled homes and buildings was felt up to 50 miles away. an explosion so powerful it registered as an earthquake. right now they do believe there's loss of life. they cannot tell how much. early estimates between 5 and 15, but we know more than 170 people have been treated at area hospitals. some children and adults still in critical condition. police say they are treating it as a crime skreenl only as a precaution. they don't know what caused the fire. they are just dealing with fighting it right now. >> they still have many
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questions about this event. >> firefighters who are among the first responders are there. some unaccounted for. so we will be follow that with reports from the scene right away. >> we have live team coverage covering every angle the way only cnn can. we have george howell live in waco with us standing by with an update on the medical situation there. we're going to begin in west with martin savidge on the groun near the scene. what the the latest? >> john, it's been such a difficult night. it is only going to become an even more difficult day. once daylight comes here, that's when people are really going to be able to see the devastation that has ripped out the heart of their community and, also, when we believe that the death toll and it is expected to rise, as investigators will have the opportunity to go door to door. the search and rescue is still under way and there is is some positive news.
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a small sliver of it the mayor delivered just homes ago. >> stunning video. the west fertilizer plant in the small town of west, texas, about 20 miles from waco, exploding. the blast of the massive fire that followed, leaving dozens of homes and buildings heavily damaged or destroyed. the town's mayor telling cnn what it felt like. >> i just never have seen an explosion like that. it was just a ball of fire and went up like a nuclear bomb went off. big old mushroom cloud. >> reporter: the blast was so strong it registered as a magnitude 2.1 earthquake. >> we just saw an explosion on the horizon. >> a bomb just went off inside here. it's pretty bad. >> reporter: half of the town's 2600 residents were forced to evacuate. officials concerned about potentially deadly gas fumes and a second fertilizer tank that could also explode.
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people living near the plant feared for their lives. >> when it exploded, we all just hit the ground, and i was trying to cover up my daughter because there was a lot of debris flying. within -- after that, it was just basically search and rescue. >> reporter: the smoldering fire and fumes prevented rescue workers from getting near the plant. officials say the blast area resembles a war zone. >> massive, just like iraq, just like the murray building in oklahoma city. same kind of anhydrous exploded. so you can imagine what kind of damage we're looking at there. >> one of buildings was located right next to that fertilizer plant where a nursing home with at least 130 patients and also there was an apartment building. the mayor briefed us on the nursing home. here's what he said. >> the rest home, nursing home, has evacuated and taken all patients out to safe locations.
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all residents in that area have been evacuated and are in safe locations. i do not have an exact number of casualties at this time or hurt. we took over 160 to a waco hospital, area hospitals, for treatment. search and rescue teams have been working through the night combing the west rest haven as well as the fire -- the fertilizer plant and also a thorough check of the neighborhood. that is continuing as we speak. >> devastation, john, is going to be both physically and mentally by this community because, remember, volunteer fire departments, volunteer ems, friends and neighbors, they were the ones that responded first to this disaster. they were the ones right there when that plant exploded.
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that's the reason why you have missing and dead among the first responders. john? >> martin, as you said, it is a small town. when you have 50 to 60 homes heavily damaged in a small town like that, as you know, chris, that's a big percentage of the homes right down there. >> think about it. they had to evacuate half of the town because of this, 1300 people. still far from over. let's get to cnn's george howell live from waco, texas, where many of the injuries have been taken to the hillcrest medical center. george, what are you hearing? >> chris, you know, to our count, 173 patients were sent off to various hospitals. here at hillcrest baptist, they saw the most, 101 patients, who our understand, 5 of them are in intensive care, 2 are in critical condition and 3 others are in serious condition. also at providence hospital. they saw 65 patients. they admitted 12 patients. at scott & white, which is the
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level one trauma center. five patients there, chris. we understand that two of them are children in critical condition. three adults. two of those adults in critical condition and one in stasble condition. two patients were rushed to dallas, texas, at parkland hospital, still unclear. but we are now starting to get a better indication of how many people were rushed to hospitals and even a better indication, early on, but better indication of casualties. early on investigators they said as many as 70 casualties. now we're hear that number, 5 to 15 and 3 to 5 firefighters are still missing, chris. >> all right, thank you very much for the report. we'll be back to you. we know you're monitoring the situation. thanks for doing it. one of the best ways to understand how dire this situation is there, there's literally what you will see on the face of the next witness that we're going to listen to. ems director, he is a doctor. his name is george smith. and he immediately responded to the situation.
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he's been fighting all night. listen to what he told our affiliate this incredible story of what he saw and what he did and just look at his face. >> there was just a major, major explosion. windows came in on me. the roof came in on me. the ceiling came in. i worked my way out to go get some more help. of course, we lost all communication because the power went out. the ambulance station is badly damaged. the whole 1500 block of still meadow which is the closest street to it. my son lives there. luckily he was on the second floor. that whole street is gone. we got a lot of people still trapped in houses but that's dangerous material, hazardous material. we can't get to them right now. >> have you ever seen anything like this before? >> no. i was at katrina afterwards with the disaster medical assistance team with fema, but it's -- it's
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just over wlwhelmoverwhelming. for a town of 2300, we have three ambulances and there are literally hundreds of people hurt. i know -- i don't have -- i haven't been there but i'm very worried that my ambulance that was on scene and those personnel are probably deceased. i think some of the firemen may be deceased. i was inside a building quite a ways from it. i know a lot of houses are in bad shape, the ambulance building is destroyed. >> what would you compare this to? >> what's your emostal status right now? >> overwhelmed. try to do the best i can. they're trying to get me down because i'm bleeding. i got a job to do. there are people more hurt than me that i need to get but i can't communicate with my people. radios are not working. i don't know where my people are at to get back to them. >> what will you compare this
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to? dr. george smith says, an atom bomb. he sees that and he works through the night to try to help people even while his own force of the ems workers are not all accounted for at this moment. texas ems director george smith. he was speaking just after the explosion. a little while later we caught up with him again by phone. he was being treated for his own injuries in the hospital. he told us more about what he saw. >> one little boy, i understand, got up and was thrown through a wall. and one child actually got thrown through the wall of his house into the yard. his family member picked his up and grandparents drove him by private party to a regional hospital. he was critical and the grandparents were critical. it was a volunteer fire department and volunteer ambulance service. most of them were blast
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injuries. the windows imploded. the ceiling fell down. the ceiling fell. and resulted in at least one broken leg, broken femur, upper thigh. and something fell on them. there may be as many as anywhere between seven and ten nursing home residents not accounted for. they may have been picked up by other members but we don't know. it was very, very hectic. >> just the look on his face, dr. george smith there, you heard him speaking at the developing situation. he didn't get treated himself even though he needed stitches in his face because he wanted to help as much as he could. that's the spirit going on down there in texas. dealing with potential exposure of chemicals and the explosion that rocked the entire community. further complicating their efforts this morning, the next factor, weather. heavy winds, rain coming their way, dropping temperatures.
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let's go to jennifer delgado and get a good understanding of what may be coming their way. jennifer? >> the rain is already starting to make its way into the region of west, texas, as well as waco, texas. i want to point out to you the winds right now, 24 coming out of the northwest with some gusts at 32. we're certain to see the winds become more variable. they will city out of the northwest. you can see the shower and thunderstorms moving in. the worst is still to come. as i said to you earlier, we're out of the severe thunderstorm watch. notice as i said, look at all that lightning out there. this is why so many people need to take cover with the lightning and the hail and the gusty winds. i know a lot of people have lost their homes and many people, responders, are outside. this is certainly something you need to be aware of because we're talking potentially dangerous situation. as we sweep there you can see some of the heavier rainfall starting to work in to parts of west, texas. as we show you the winds right
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now you can kind of get an idea. they're trying to make that for areas like waco and dallas. they're going to shift a bit sooner than that. as we go throughout the morning, we are going to continue to see rain moving through the area up until about 9:00. and then after that, we're really going to be dealing with the gusty winds. the temperatures are going to be significantly cooler than what they were yesterday. notice we will see some of the 60s and the overnight lows getting very close to about 38 degrees. keep in mind sun rise still roughly about 35 minutes away at 6:55. chris, john, we'll continue to track the storms. send it back over to you. >> jennifer delgado, thanks very much. one of the big concern tons ground right now from west, tk, is the substance that was inside this plant, this anhydrous ammonia, which is used as fertilizer but can be very, very dangerous. to give us a sense of how dangerous, elizabeth cohen joins us right now. >> we know a lot about this chemical because it's involved
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in explosions with some frequency. very commonly used industrial chemical. so the impact that it has all depends on how much you breathe in. if you breathe in a lot of it, you can die instantly. if you breathe in -- if you breathe in less of it, then it can irritate your eyes, it can irritate your nose, it can irritate your throat, but, you know that will go away quickly. it all depends on the wind and the temperature at the time that it's released. >> what does it mean that we haven't been hearing about a second wave of exposure at the hospitals? we heard from the ceo of the hospital, they saw some people early on, none since. >> hopefully what that means is that the people who were there at the initial explosion were effected and we heard them talking about t treating people for eye irritation and trying to get that out of their eyes. hopefully those are the only people and that's it. that's what we pray for, is that that's it. >> let's hope it's not a concern we have to continue to facedown there in west, texas, right now
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with so much of that substance. 50,000 pounds on the scene at one point in the fertilizer plant. elizabeth cohen, thanks to you. >> the easiest way to explain it, when it went up the blast could be felt 50 miles away. so powerful it was detected by equipment used to measure earthquakes. literally, the u.s. geological survey. >> they described it as a magnitude 2.1 seismic event. look at that chart. the first little blitz, that's the ground shaking. then you see a pause and then you see really the boom, the sound wave coming through. so really it hit twice. registered at stations that usually measure underground seismic events that were not close, miles and miles away. >> boy, oh, boy. the tragedy there being felt and responded to not just in texas. actually prompted pope francis to send out a special message to his more than 2 million followers on twitter about it. >> this morning the pontiff tweeted, quote, please join me in praying for the victims of
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the explosion in texas and their families. that from the pope. >> it is still very much ongoing there for them. they're going to have new fresh eyes on the situation as they get light down there. and then they will have to deal with the weather. here ahead on "starting point" we will have continuing coverage of that devastating fertilizer plant explosion in west, texas. we will give you the latest on the recovery and the search and resc rescue. chris and i are standing here in boston. we are following the investigation into the boston marathon bombing. what authorities say could be a break in the case. the latest on the investigation as this special edition of "starting point" continues. and this will be your premium right here. sorry to interrupt. i just want to say, i combined home and auto with state farm, saved 760 bucks. love this guy. okay, does it bother anybody else
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(train horn) vo: wherever our trains go, the economy comes to life. norfolk southern. one line, infinite possibilities. this is cnn breaking news. >> welcome back to our viewers
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in the united states and around the world. we are continuing to follow the latest on our breaking news. a huge plant blast at a fertilizer facility in west, texas. massive explosion there. a small town, less than 3,000 people, just north of waco. officials don't know about how many are dead but they know somewhere between 5 and 15. developing situation. more than 160 people have been injured, treated at local hospitals. but still ongoing situation, john. >> that's right. a search and rescue operation under way. homes and businesses have simply been leveled. now, while that's going on, new developments in what authorities call perhaps the possible breakthrough in the investigation here in the boston marathon terror attacks. investigators pinpointing now two men they say caught on camera near the finish line. there are pictures coming from an analysis of surveillance video from a lord and taylor department store near the site of the second blast. they also have a local tv station video. those pictures are now in the
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hands of the federal agents. >> one of the men are reportedly seen carrying a black backpack. investigators say this pressure cooker bomb was being held inside of a black nylon backpack, a bag that triggered their interest. photo for you to check out. taken by a man who was watching. his wife participating in the marathon. it shows what looks like a bag inside the barricades. can you see it? tritd to highlight it for you. he took the picture an hour to an hour and a half before the second explosion. it appeared to be the same bag that's outside the barricades in these whwd-tv pictures. it's been turned over to inve investigators. >> in a few hours we're going gather and pray in an interfaith service here in boston. president obama will be in attendance along with many others including mitt romney, former governor of massachusetts. cnn will bring you that service live. >> here in boston, many of the people who came here just for
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the marathon have not left. there is a sense of connection here now to what's going on. some of it is waiting to see what happens, if there's a discovery. but it's now just feeling the sense of moving on and being here together. susan candiotti has seen the pictures of the two men. she joins us now. susan, what do these images show to your eye? >> well, very interesting because, of course, they're standing in a huge crowd of people. and you've got two men who are standing there as described to us also by investigators, the reason they're interested is because it's near the finish line around where all those flags are that you've been seeing time and again right near the finish line. and what's pieeking the interes among other things is that they're carrying bags with them. one of them is a dark colored backpack and another one appears to be a duffel bag. the reason h is significant, of course, is we've been hear for a few days now from our
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investigative sources that they are -- have an interest in looking at a black nylon backpack or bag of some kind because they found remnants of those. we've seen those in the evidence scene photograph, crime scene photographs, chris. >> all right. susan candiotti for us live here in boston right now where this investigation right now. very much continuing with these photos that have now been passed around to federal agents all around the country that show two people of interest that authorities right now want to know more about. >> very interesting where they're getting this information from. it's not just developing sources. lord and taylor comes forward with with their cameras. volunteering the information. people looking back at their phot photos. this man realizes he may have something of significance. gives it to the authorities. now they're acting on it. >> all right. ahead on "starting point", a lot going on this morning. not just an investigation here in boston but we will have continuing coverage of the texas
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fertilizer plant explosion. casualties down there. many, many people injured. we're following that story and many more this morning. we also have news of an arrest in the ricin scare in the nation's capital. we will give you the latest. you are watching a special edition of "starting point."
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this is cnn breaking news. >> welcome back. i'm chris cuomo with john berman here in boston. the big story this morning breaking news, a massive explosion at a fertilizer plant in the small texas town of west, just north of waco. >> officials right now giving a preliminary estimate of 5 to 15 people killed. but again, it is early. that number possibly could rise. number of injured very high, also. more than 160 people have been injured, taken to local area hospitals and there is a search and rescue operation under way which will get more intense as day light comes up there. >> you have to imagine this is a very small town. less than 3,000 people. they only have three ambulances. luckily responding around the
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area, people came with first responders, the equipment that they needed, able to help get people to local hospitals. but 50 to 60 of their homes in this tiny community heavily damaged. some of them they are not able to search yet because they're dealing with chemicals in the area and future explosions. they were doing it overnight in the dark. very fluid situation. we're going to be following that all morning for you. but there are other stories developing around the world. so let's get to christine romans in new york for the other stories, headlines this morning. >> good morning. let's start in mississippi where a man is under arrest in connection with a ricin scare in the nationes capital. letters addressed to president obama and mississippi senator roger wicker were intercepted at a mail processing facility after tests indicated the presence of the poison. the letters are undergoing additional testing. >> any time a suspicious powder is located in a mail facility, it is tested. and i would underscore that the mail is screened. the mail sent here is screened
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and these tests are undertaken at remote sites to mitigate the risk to both the recipients and to the general population. >> the fbi says results of the additional testing on the envelopes could be released later today. president obama vowing to fight on after a gun control bill went down in defeat. the senate voted down a compromise to expand background checks and ban military style assault weapons. the president says the gun lobby lied about the bill and that senators from both parties caved to political pressure. >> all in all, this was a pretty shame p shameful day for washington. this effort is not over. i want to make it clear t to the american people, we can still bring about meaningful changes that reduce gun violence so long as the american people don't give up on it. >> the president said he would push to make it easier for states to use current background check laws. another huge story developing in texas this morning. a major break in the case of
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three high-profile killings in kaufman county. the wife of a disgraced former justice of the peace is pinning the crimes on her husband. authorities say kim williams knew details about the shootings of a prosecutor and d.a. and his wife but weren't made public and she confessed that her husband eric pulled the trigger. she is charged with capital murder. her husband, eric williams, is in jail on a terroristic threat charge. investigators say an e-mail threatening more attacks was traced back to him. we're expecting more information on this this afternoon. back to you guys in boston. >> all right, thanks so much, christine. ahead on "starting point" we will have more on the breaking news of the morning, this massive explosion at a fertilizer plant in the town of west, texas. many, many people injured. search and rescue operation under way. we'll bring you the latest. stay with us.
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welcome back to "starting point." i'm john berman. >> i'm chris cuomo. following developing stories here in boston, but mostly in texas this morning. the tiny town of west right now, rescue workers are going door to door looking for people who may be trapped in their homes after a massive explosion at a fertilizer plant. first there was a fire, then a blast so powerful it registered as 2.1 magnitude seismic event. like an event quake. >> look at the pictures. simply amazing. police right now say as many as 15 people may have died but those numbers could grow. very preliminary right now. they do know at this point more than 160 people have been treated this morning in area hospitals. that small texas town is only 20 mile from waco. right now it is the scene of utter devastation. >> there are homes leveled. there are businesses leveled. he says it looks like when the blast occurred that the concussion and the pressure
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impact, if that's the correct wording, literally destroyed homes in and around that plant. >> half this town had to be evacuated because of the threat of leaking ammonia. a second fertilizer tank they were worried that might possibly explode. >> it's a complicated situation because it's not just the massive fire but chemical propelled and these chemicals can be poisonous. used as -- we will teach them about you later on. we will have people come in to tell you what anhydrous ammonia is, how it's comp my t indicating their i for tefforts. we have live reports from texas. we have cnn's george howell in waco. he's monitoring the situation at the hospital. and, martin savidge is in west texas. let's start with you, martin. what's the latest from the ground? >> well, the weather that they had been talking about is now finally arrived. there's a mixture of good and bad that comes with that. we've got some pretty heavy
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steady rain coming down. temperatures dropped about 15, 20 degrees. here's the good news. overhearing froms a shul offici rain will help wash, clean the area of particles. that will help if there is any toxic fumes in the stid and it will help extinguish the embers and fire that is still burning. 12 hours after the blast. the bad side is, of course, it's going the hamper and hinder the search and rescue effort which the mayor says is still ongoing at this hour and the big thing is going to be waiting for daylight because they expect to learn a lot, both about what the impact has been and counting up those who have been lost. >> martin, thank you very much. >> cnn's george howell is standing by for us live from waco, texas. george, is at one of the medical centers where so many people have been treated. more than 100 where he is at the
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hillcrest medical center in waco. >> john, first of all, just as martin indicated, we are also starting to feel that weather come through. the same storm system, john, that we tangled with just a few hours ago in oklahoma. this is a pretty strong system. it will bring a lot of wind. a lot of rain to this area. and we'll certainly make it difficult, will hamper that search house-by-house that investigators are doing, thorough, methodical search. here t at the hospital at hillcrest, they saw the most patients, 10 1 patients. five of them are in intensive care. two are in critical condition. and the other three are in what is described as serious condition. also at providence hospital nearby they saw 65 patients. they admitted 12 of those patients. at scott & white, which is a level one trauma center, they saw five patients. two of them are children in critical condition at this hour. we understand that there were also three other patients there, three adults, two of those adults in critical condition and one in stable condition.
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we also know now, john that two people were sent to dallas, texas, the parkland hospital. still unclear their condition. the total count that we have right now, 173 people injured in this situation. >> all right, george. just to be clear, that number, we've had it for a little while. you haven't seen a new wave of injured there? >> you know, we are diligently checking with these hospitals to keep up. it's a fluid situation, especially, chris, as we have daylight and we, you know, learn more from these investigators as they go house by house looking for victims, looking for the potentially dead. at this point the casualty number we understand is anywhere from 5 to 15. that number is significantly less than what we initially heard from firefighters who said it could be as high as 70. now 5 to 15. and at our cuount, 173 injured. >> all right, george howell at
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the hillcrest medical center in waco, the medical centers is any potential exposure to this chemical agent, this fertilizer, anhydrous ammonia, which can be very, very dangerous. cnn medical correspondent elizabeth cohen is here to explain how dangerous it can be. >> it's a chemical in the fertilizer. it becomes gasoeus after an explosion. you don't breathe in very much, it's not necessarily such a big deal. you can get some fresh air and you will be fine. in the middle you can have lung irritation or ear, nose, and throat irritation. it sounds from what we've heard that the explosion has been a much bigger deal than the inhalation of this gas. that's what we're seeing, the injuries, is the explosion, not so much the gas. >> the question is, if this explosion blew into these homes, you know, enough obviously to damage them, does that mean that it's carrying this chemical along with it or when it
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explodes, is the burn from it then burning up the chemical? >> the burn from it can burn up the chemical. so hopefully that's what happened, is that it can burn up some of the chemical or a lot of the chemical. hopefully also the weather conditions are right. hopefully also there's a lot of wind to take it away. so there are a lot of variables going on here. >> we did hear early on that some of the first patients admitted did have eye irritation. >> had to be irrigated, yes. often the first, eye irritation, nose irritation. we have a lot of experience with this chemical. unfortunately it is involved in explosions with some frequency. there are many people who have that level, eye irritation or nose irritation and then they're fine. >> elizabeth cohen, thank you for being with us right now. we're going to go to the white house and talk to brianna keilar right now because obviously with so much going on in the country, so much news, the white house monitoring any number of situations, including the one in we west, texas. brianna, who what do you know
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about what the white house is saying? >> at this point we know that they're aware of the situation. they're keeping an eye on this and they're really doing this through fema. i will tell you this is very much a state operation there. the texas department of public safety is very much the point organization. as you know, texas is a big state with a lot of capability. so as of now, it appears that this state is largely handling this situation on their own. but i'm told that, by a fema official, that the federal authorities here do stand ready to help if needed. there are actually a couple of damage assessment teams on stand by and a federal urban search and rescue team that has been alerted but not deployed at this point. at this point, though, fema coordinating their efforts with state and local officials there in texas, either regional office in denton, texas. again, john, this very much a state operation in texas, appears to be handling this. >> the president headed to where we are in boston today, brianna?
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>> that's right. president obama heading to boston for this interfaith memorial service taking place at the cathedral of the holy cross. he will be going early this morning, really in not too long here in the next hour. and he will be speaking in the 11:00 hour. he will, according to white house press secretary jay carney, be giving a message of resolve. we heard him in recent days talking about the heroic acts that we saw in the wake of the bombing in boston. i think we will be hearing more of those because some of the points that he's going to want to touch on really is that he will be talking about how some of the moments really should be the things that define the bombing, how people responded, not necessarily running away from the danger but running toward it to help other people. people who ran the marathon and even after such a grueling race, went to the hospital, gave blood so that they could be of assistance to the victims. i will tell you some of the folks in addition to president obama who will be at the
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memorial service, of course, state and local officials but you're also going to be seeing first responders, some of the people on the scene, they have been invited. family members of victims and also a number of volunteers from the boston athletic association which puts on the marathon. and again, john, we're expecting those comments in the 11:00 eastern hour. >> all right, brianna, thanks so much. cnn will bring you that live, the interfaith service. chris, you will be there as the president arrives and gives that message, as brianna said, a message of hope, reaching out to the people who were heroes in the minutes and hours after the only being. >> a fellow spoke to me last night, it was an act of terror but we are not terrified. to show that resolve, to use the president's word, that they're here, that together, they're going to move forward together as well. and this service today will be a big part of that and we'll bring it all to you live. >> we're going to head on "starting point," the investigation here does continue and there has been one investigators call a possible
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breakthrough. a significant development in the terror attacks. >> we are show you some photos that they're interested in, a piece of videotape they believe in which they spotted men near that finish line. what it could mean to the investigation, the latest when we come back. with so much competition, finding the right job is never easy. but with the nation's largest alumni network, including those in key hiring positions, university of phoenix can help connect you to a world of opportunity. with command strips from 3m. stick it to eliminate odors anywhere. like this trashcan. in like a flower field. aw man! [ screams ] [ laughs ] stick it almost anywhere. new febreze stick & refresh. breathe happy.
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welcome back. i'm chris cuomo here with john berman in boston, part of our continuing coverage of the attacks at the boston marathon. the headline this morning, new developments, a possible breakthrough in the investigation of the attacks. investigators pinpointing two men caught on camera near the finish line. there are pick churtures coming cameras at a lord and taylor department store roof near the site of the second blast and also from a local tv station. those pictures are now in the hands of federal and state agencies. >> in the images one of the men is reportedly seen carrying a black backpack. significant, of course, because they saw the remnants of those backpacks on the ground later on. three people were killed from the blast, 78 injured.
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56 this morning are still in the hospital. 13 of them in critical condition. >> later this morning the public will get a chance to come together, pray, and grieve together in an interfaith service. president obama and the first lady are going to be traveling to boston this morning. they're going to be joined by local dignitaries and clergy as well as first responders. and they will use this memorial service to honor the victims of monday's bombing at the marathon. >> pamela brown is standing outside the cathedral of the holy cross in boston. good morning. >> good morning to you, john. the interfaith service doesn't begin until 11:00 a.m. eastern time but crowds have been building outside the cathedral of the holy cross since around 4:30 this morning. let's look at the crowds. several blocks out from the cathedral, as far down as i can see. about three blocks right now. you can expect crowds to continue to build because the service is open to the public. as mentioned, president obama will be speaking this morning, along -- he will be joined by first lady michelle obama, also
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former massachusetts governor and former presidential candidate mitt romney will be in attendance today. the president's message will be focused on resolve, a shared commonality of the american people with the people of boston and a big focus will, of course, be on the victims from monday's tragedy, those who suffered and those who have lost their lives. late yesterday afternoon boston university officially released the name of the third victim killed, a 23-year-old graduate student and chinese national by the name of lingzi lrk u and the parents obtained expedited visas and may be on their way from china to the u.s. that is according to a state department source. lingzi was standing on the finish line. one of her friends was suffered injuries and taken to the hospital. after that a frantic search erupted on social media from fends looking for lingzi and
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that was followed by a wave of sympathy. her lost has sent shockwaves throughout the bu campus what has a strong chinese community. here's what one student had to say. >> we just know our friend was lost in this. we are really devastated. we are trying to do something for her. i know there was a vigil yesterday and so many people came and they show up and give support, from chinese students. we want to do more for her. >> there will be a memorial service on the boston university campus at 7:00 tonight and, again, we are learning this morning from a state department source that lingzi's parents may be on their way to the u.s. from china and that they received expedited visas.
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again, president obama will be here at 11:00 a.m. eastern time. not only will he focus on lingzi but the other two victims, 29-year-old krystle campbell and 8-year-old martin richard. we do expect family members of some of the victims to be here this morning along with first responders and others who were there on monday when the bombs went off. also, a big crowd, members of the public will be attendance at this morning's interfaith service. >> thank you so much, pamela brown, outside the cathedral of the holy cross. the services begin at 11:00 a.m. eastern time and cnn will bring you coverage of that event. meanwhile, the nhl and nba are paying tribute of the victims of the bombings here on monday. both the bruins and the celtics. during last night's game in toronto the celtics and raptors gathered at midcourt for a moment of silence. the bruins were the first sports team to play at home in boston
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since the attacks on monday. there was a moment of silence before their game as well against the sabres. and in a stirring moment, rancor put down his microphone, encouraging the crowd to sing "the national anthem" instead. ♪ through the perilous flight >> on a night like that, another song, such strong meaning to people, some solid to people who gathered with feelings of community. >> that's what everyone was singing. listen to everyone. in unison. ♪ >> they've got that kind of spirit. they can come back to it. they will. they sang it through, loud and proud. ahead on "starting point," president obama making a
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passionate, passionate vow saying the fight is not over after that compromised gun control bill went down to defeat in the senate. ahead, we're going to talk about the white house's next move. >> you're watching "starting point qurt ". 8% every 10 years. wow. wow. but you can help fight muscle loss with exercise and ensure muscle health. i've got revigor. what's revigor? it's the amino acid metabolite, hmb to help rebuild muscle and strength naturally lost over time. [ female announcer ] ensure muscle health has revigor and protein to help protect, preserve, and promote muscle health. keeps you from getting soft. [ major nutrition ] ensure. nutrition in charge! we believe it can be the most valuable real estate on earth. ♪ that's why we designed our newest subaru from the back seat forward.
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welcome back to "starting point." chris cuomo with john berman in boston. president obama, on his way here, but also continuing to fight for gun control. the president says the gun lobby
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lied about the bill. let's go to breanna keilar live at the white house with more. >> he was upset. white house officials early on decided that the reality of this debate was that a really -- what they would consider a bold gun control measure like an assault weapons ban had no chance of passing congress. they were right about that. but they wanted to expand background checks of gun control purchases. they thought newtown had changed the dynamics of this political debate. turns out they were wrong. president obama an i wigrily ca out congress. >> all in all, a shameful day for washington. >> reporter: it was an emotional day delivered with families who had loved ones kills in newtown and gabby giffords. >> it came down to politics, the
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worry that vocal minority of gun owners would come after them in future elections, so they caved to the pressure. and they started looking for an excuse, any excuse, to vote no. >> reporter: the normally staid senate chamber erupted. >> there will be order in the senate. the gallery will refrain from any demonstration or comment. >> reporter: despite broad support for background checks and personal pleas by sandy hook families, the bipartisan compromise failed. one conservative senator criticized the white house. >> in some cases, the president has used newtown families as props, and that disappoints me. >> are they serious? do we really think thousands of families whose lives have been shattered by gun violence don't have a right to weigh in on the issue? we think their loss is not
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relevant to the debate? >> our hearts are broken. our spirit is not. >> the president and sandy hook families vowed the fight is not over. now, you heard president obama and white house officials come down to what the american public thinks. they hope this defeat galvinizes public support for stricter gun control measures. it makes it an issue of 2014 and those senators up for re-election then. john and chris, there is really no big legislative plan "b" to tackle background checks. there is this gun bill in the senate, certainly from the white house's perspective. very watered down measure including straw purchases, a measure on straw purchases and school safety, which they say
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are necessary, but certainly not as much as they would have liked to have seen. >> brianna, thank you very much. it's a very complex and emotional debate when it comes to gun control. there is a large portion of the country. 45% of the households. that we have laws of restricting the rights of getting guns lawfully. good guys is not the way to go about it. and that's what you see in the pressuring of the politicians who voted no on the bill. >> 45% gun owners. up to 90% saying they would support some kind of background check. a little bit of dichotomy. >> and we do have background checks. >> some democrats voted against it also. a lot going on. let's get to christine romans in new york. >> new developments in the ricin
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scare in the nation's capitol. paul kevin curtis of mississippi, bliss believe he sent the letters to senator roger wicker. letters were intercepted at a mail processing facility after tests indicated presence of the poison. letters are undergoing additional testing many results could be known later today. more troubles for carnival cruiseline. a power failure on "ecstasy." all hotel systems and propulsion systems were restored. it's making its way back to port canaveral, florida. north korea threatening "sledgehammer blows" to the u.s. and south korea, unless a list of demands are met. it will only sit down to talk if u.n. sanctions are lifted. and the u.s. must stop military drills in south korea, and the
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u.s. must apologize to north korea. south korea calls the demands preposterous. before any talks, the north must move away from its nuclear program. back to you in boston. >> thanks so much, christine. >> we'll be following all of the breaking developments here. we do have the interfaith service coming up here. a great opportunity for people to start taking that step. be together in the time of grief. we'll bring it all live and the major breaking story of the morning in texas. >> as many as 15 people dead. could be more, could be less. very preliminary. many injuries and the threat not over. >> been through it overnight. with daylight now, they'll have to see the situation, it's far from over there for sure. we'll stay with it all morning long. >> plus, a possible break in the investigation here in boston into the terror attacks. we'll bring you the latest on the investigation, right after the break. [ female announcer ] a classic meatloaf recipe from stouffer's
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stouffer's. ♪ (train horn) vo: wherever our trains go, the economy comes to life. norfolk southern. one line, infinite possibilities. good morning, everyone. i'm john berman. >> i'm chris cuomo. live in boston. part of cnn's continuing coverage. attacks of the boston marathon.
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two major stories. first, breaking news overnight. a fertilizer plant explodes in west texas. leveling surrounding homes. that blast, so powerful it literally registered as an earthquake. they do believe there is loss of life, too soon to tell how many people. we know that over 150 people have been injured, treated in local hospitals, search and rescue throughout the night in darkness. now in daylight, they will see their situation differently. an extra factor, difficult weather moving in. >> there are homes leveled. there are businesses leveled. there is massive devastation in the downtown west area. >> plus, we're learning about safety issues at this plant that stretch back as far as 2006 and
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we're standing live in boston this morning, where there is a possible break in the marathon bombing case. investigators focusing on two men, caught on camera, who may -- may be connected. this as the president prepares to attend a prayer service this morning. thursday, april 18th. special edition of "starting point" begins right now. >> welcome to this special edition of "starting point" here in boston. i'm chris cuomo with john berman. >> standing here now as we want to welcome back viewers here in the united states and around the world. so much news this morning. >> breaking news out of texas. just telling you about. this federrtilizer plant went ut 7:00 p.m. local time. this big blast, door-to-door
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search and rescue. this tiny community, less than 3,000 people. 50 to 60 homes they believe destroyed. difficult to find people. >> just after 12 hours after the explosion at the federa fertilizer plant. 50 to 60 homes, that blast felt as far as 15 miles away. >> it is key this is a fertilizer plant. dealing with chemicals, one called anhydrous ammonia. dangerous, potentially leithal. very little word of injury. we'll learn about how this chemical is. >> 160 plus people have been injured. we're getting numbers from local medical facilities where people are being treated right now. the police right now, they say they are treating it as a crime scene, but that is only because they need to find out more information. listen.
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>> this is a crime scene. we are not indicating that it is a crime, but we don't know. what that means to us, until we know it was an industrial accident, we will work it as a crime scene. >> the bigger concerns right now, loss of human life. firefighters, as many as five who responded to the fire at the plant before it exploded. still unaccounted for this morning. >> live team coverage, starting with martin savidge, on the ground in the town of west texas. 18 miles away from waco. what is the latest right now? >> the heavy weather is now hitting the area. it's proving to be problematic. high winds gusting through what is the devastation there and torrential rain, could interfere in some ways with the signal. i want to bring in jill jenkins. she is a nurse, one who responded right away, she is also a resident of the community
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that has been so, so hard hit. and i guess the first thing is to ask, how are you doing? >> i'm good. i'm tired, but i'm good. >> it was a fire and that's what drew a lot of people out to sort of see what was burning, right? and that's what brought you in? >> a big fire, that's all we knew. >> reporter: tell us how it went from there? >> we drove to see the fire and right when we turned the corner, about four or five blocks i guess, the explosion occurred. >> reporter: how bad? >> it was bad. it was very loud. like a bomb went off, and you still weren't really sure what exactly it was. >> reporter: most people go away, but you went toward the area. >> we went around, we started seeing people with injuries and things like that. so the closer we drove to, you know, kind of the --
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>> we're having some technical issues in west, texas. as martin said, heavy weather right now, could screw up our satellite signal right there. we'll get back as soon as we can 40 to 50-mile-an-hour wind gusts, heavy rain, lightning strikes. >> we already know, significant injury numbers here, especially how strong the community is 150 people. doctors and nurses busy at the hillcrest medical center. where a majority of the casualties were brought. george on the scene. any latest information? >> reporter: chris, we're diligently checking with hospitals. the latest numbers we have at hillcrest as you mentioned, the hospital that saw the most patients. 101 patients. we understand that five of those patients are in intensive care. two in critical condition, and three in what is described as serious condition. and in providence hospital, 65 patients were seen, and the
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number one trauma center, scott & white, five children, two of them children, in critical condition. three adults, two adults in critical condition, one in stable condition, and two people sent to dallas, texas to packland hospital. unclear of their condition. but by our count right now, a fluid situation, 173 people that we know of that were sent to hospitals. the casualty number less than we heard estimated by firefighters. >> george, thanks. we'll be back to you soon. with daylight now, john and dealing with the weather elements, they don't really know what they have yet in terms of injuries. hopefully no other big waves. you can't tell. >> martin savidge, you can see how weather is affecting things right now. heavy winds, strong rain, lightning could be a factor there this morning.
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jennifer delegato to talk to us about the situation on the ground there. jennifer. >> hi, john. hi, chris. all of the things are affecting the situation in west, texas. dealing with lightning and gusty winds, and the wind right now, 33, coming out of northwest. a sign that the front is moving through. and the temperature has dropped 25 degrees over the last two hours. again, that line of storms making its way through west, texas and waco. we see lightning and hail. everyone needs to take precaution. heaviest rainfall out of the region by 9:00 local time. on a wider view, see some of the heavier pockets that are still going to be moving through. and as this does, we'll continue to see wind gusts at times up to 40 miles per hour, and through the afternoon, wind gusts 25 to
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30. did you see winds out of the south, out of the northwest. and as i take you back to the graphic. i want to give you an idea of the day. this is 7:00 a.m. thursday, the jet stream is ushering in a lot of cold air and that is really starting to filter in now. and that means overnight lows tonight are going to be significantly cooler, dropping down to 38 degrees, so that is also going to be a big shocker, all of those who don't have a home, don't have shelter and emergency responders out there. chris, john, something to watch as we go through the next 24 hours. >> all right, jennifer delgado. the weather prohibiting rescue and search efforts, but it could have a positive effect. >> winds blowing the fire around
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is a danger, and the anhydrous ammonia. it could blow it away from the town. >> the rain and wind could help dissipate the threat there with those dangerous gases. >> we reported earlier on, the white house aware, made resources available. now they are being deployed. national guard troops being sent into texas right now. exactly the kind of help they need. the right equipment. man power. barbara starr, live at the u.s. pentagon, keeping a close eye on the disaster in the little town of west. >> good morning, chris, john. we know 21 members of the texas national guard on the way to the scene. their expertise? monitoring air quality. everything you both just said, they need to monitor the air quality for the people there, the emergency responders. that will be their main job. additionally, texas national guard, search and rescue,
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extraction team on alert at this hour and could go in the coming hours later today. all of this is part of the texas national guard's activated by texas governor rick perry. it's a state effort. texas national guard, one of the best equipped in the country, very capable. they like to look after their own business. but in addition clearly, the pentagon, everyone in washington, monitoring the situation, in case there is an additional need for federal help. the pentagon will be available we are told to respond to that in a real sign of all of the tragedy this week, just a couple of days ago. the texas national guard issued a statement of support for the massachusetts national guard and their efforts in boston. the national guard often on the front lines in so many commun y communities in times of trouble. chris, john. >> right hand us. >> standing right behind us as
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they have been, on extra long shifts, keeping the perimeter secure. we'll be back to you, barbara. >> we're learning more about the fertilizer plant where the explosion happened and some potential safety issues. >> this plant is right in the middle of town. so many homes and businesses right in the vicinity. we know this plant was cited in 2006 for a lingering smell of ammonia. a local television station is reporting that this plant was fined in 2006 by the epa for not having a risk management plan in place that met federal standards. we know now officials from the chemical safety board are en route from washington, to look at the overall safety, history and the protocol in place here at this plant. we know this morning, "the dallas morning news" said it
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filed with federal and state officials, it had no risk of fire. that's what it reported to officials. it said the worst-case scenario would be a ten-minute release of ammonia gas that would not kill or injure any. this is called the west fertilizer. owned by adair grain. a private company. why does a grain company own a fertilizer company or a fertilizer plant? this kind of fertilizer is a prolific component in agriculture. and really an ag boom has meant more use in this chemical. it is also used as an explosive in construction and mining and in gaurys, used for instant cold packs there are a lot of applications, but a fire at a plant like this leading to
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explosion, clearly the wor worst-case scenario. we know that officials told us that the operating assumption is an industrial accident, but they are treating it as a crime scene, investigating it as a crime scene, but they have no reason to believe it wasn't a very dangerous and terrible industrial accident. guys. >> christine romans, standard operating procedure down there for them. calling them a crime scene. proof that they want it to be an industrial accident. >> everyone has eyes on this situation. texas music legend, taken to twitter, expressing concern over this massive fertilizer explosion. willie nelson tweeted this. west has been in any backyard all my life. my heart is praying for the community we call home. everyone around the country joins in that sentiment. once they get through the critical phase what we to to help. >> the national guard on the
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way. breaking news for us a short while ago. ahead on "starting point," continuing cover range of the joy ant explosion that simply devastated the town of west texas. that fire still burning right now. the threat level still very real. >> here in boston, investigators are ziering in on two men caught on tape at the finish line. are you watching "starting point." it's 100% real milk that's easy to digest so you can fully enjoy the dairy you love. lactaid®. for 25 years, easy to digest. easy to love.
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welcome back, everyone. john berman in boston where we continue to cover the investigation into the aftermath of the boston marathon terror attacks. chris cuomo to the church of the cathedral where president obama will be coming later today for the interfaith service. other breaking news. fire burning in the town of west, texas, just north of waco, where there was a massive explosion last night at a fertilizer plant there. officials say right now, anywhere between 5 and 15 people may have been killed. a preliminary estimate. they worry that number could grow. more than 160 people have been injured in local area hospitals. search and rescue operation under way. dozens of homes reduced to rubble. half that town evacuated. meanwhile, here in boston this
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morning, new developments into the investigation of the terror attacks that happened on monday. investigators say they are spotting two men caught on surveillance near the finish line. pictures coming from a lord & taylor department store roof near the second blast and from a local tv station. those pictures in the hands of federal and statement agencies all around the country. one of the men is reportedly seen carrying a black backpack. the public will have a chance to gather and grieve at appear interfaith prayer service. president obama on his way shortly. susan cannedou succe susan, there have been some developments. what about the two pictures being sent around of the individuals? ready good morning, john.
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i have seen these two images. we are not showing them because law enforcement has asked us not to show them to jeopardize the investigation. at this point, they are saying they have a high interest, that's what they are saying, a high interest in talking to these two people. why? ith because it's because of whe were, what time that was. standing near the finish line, standing there before the bomb blasts, and they stand out, because thof what they are carrying. in one case, one of them is a dark backpack and the other appears to be a duffel bag. it might be significant, because as we know, the investigators believe that the bombs were carried in that kind of black bag or backpack. no one is saying these are the
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people. authorities are simply saying for now they have a high interest in talking to these two men. they don't have the name, they haven't released it to the public yet. we don't know why. we expect to have a news conference possibly today and perhaps a change of heart on that. we're waiting to see, john. >> this investigation going on behind me. the crime scene a block away people still not able to return to their businesses. this photo being circulated, how significant a development is this? >> it's significant enough that they have spread these photographs around to various federal and state agencies around the country, saying if any of you know who these people are, please let us know. it remains to be seen ahow significant it will be. it may be that authorities want to speak with them, ask questions and walk away.
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but that is something that is still down the road and has to be determined. john. >> all right, susan candiotti, our thanks to you. the investigation still ongoing, the area behind me blocked off. investigators and national guard. ahead on "starting point," president obama headed to boston this morning with the first lady to help this city heal after the deadly terror attacks. we'll bring you the latest when we come back. ó? ??çó
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welcome back to "starting point." today's top stories. a mississippi man under arrest
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in connections with a ricin scare in the nation's capitol. letters to president obama and senator roger wicker of mississippi were intercepted. the letters are undergoing additional testing. >> any time a suspicious pouder is located in a mail facility it is tested. and the mail is screened. the mail sent here is screened and these tests are undertaken at remote sites to mitigate risk to recipients and general population. >> the fbi says results of the tests on those envelopes could be released later today. president obama, vowing to fight on after a gun control bill came up short. the senate voting down a compromised measure to expand background checks and military style assault weapons. the gun lobby lied about the bill and senators of both parties caved in to put call pressure. >> all in all, this was a pretty shameful day for washington. but that is not over.
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i want to make it clear to the american people, we can bring along meaningful changes to reduce gun violence if the american people don't give up on it. a major break in the case of three high profile kigz in kaufman county texas. the wife of a disgraced former justice of the peace is pinning it on her husband. kill williams knew details, details that weren't made public and she confessed her husband eric pulled the trigger. she is charged with capital murder. is he in jail on a terroristic threat charge. an e-mail threatening more attacks was traced back to him. we are expecting more information this afternoon. strong storms left their mark in oklahoma. no one hurt, but several buildings damaged. nine states from michigan to louisiana are looking at severe
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weather today, including tornado threats. ahead on "starting point," a possible break in the boston marathon bombing. authorities have a high interest in two men photographed near the finish line, just around the time of the explosions. we'll tell you why. plus, back to the devastated town of west, texas, where half the population has been evacuated after a deadly explosion at a fertilizer plant. you're watching "starting point." pair to healthcare written by people just like you. with angie's list, i know who to call, and i know the results will be fantastic. angie's list -- reviews you can trust.
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texas, about 18 miles away from waco. this blast so powerful. it registered as a 2.1 magnitude seismic event and wiped out everything for blocks. >> there are homes leveled. businesses leveled. it looks like when the blast occurred, that the concussion and the pressure impact, if that's the correct wording, literally destroyed homes in and around that plant. is. >> initial estimates by police say as many as 15 people may have died. firefighter who's responded to the blaze that preceded the explosion may be among those killed. 160 people being treated at area hospitals. george howell live in wake york covering the medical situation and mart iin savidge in west, texas. let's start with you, martin. what is the latest there?
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>> reporter: two significant events. one, of course, is daylight. which will have a huge impact on the search and rescue. and very stormy weather moving through. patrick swanton, the public information officer, the face of the disaster, speaking to the media. let's talk about the impact of weather what is it on the search and rescue effort? >> obviously, we will continue through this. it may slow us a bit. it could potentially help us with environmental issues, help with the fire from different homes that were ignited during the blast as well. it won't stop us. it will slow us down this will stop and we'll get right back at it. >> reporter: are you also having to deal with other factors. daylight has to help for the search. >> without a doubt. this will certainly be of benefit to the officers who have been out here all night. still going house to house, door to door, business to business, be a little safer for them as
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well. homes were completely destroyed. meaning there was a huge environmental issue, nails, broken boards, splintered boards, a safety risk for those officers, firefighters, first responders, medical people going from door to door. this will be something that can help us in the sense of being able to see a little bit better and safely search the homes. >> lastly, we've had a stretch of 5 to 15 people reported as casualties. why such expansion? >> because it's so unknown at this point. we know we have casualties. people asking to us put a specific on it. we just can't. i have heard anywhere from 5 to 15. a good, rough guess. we hope it doesn't go higher. the fortunate side, daylight is here, we'll be able to search better, get an assessment on what kin of damage was done and
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potential casualties we may find. >> reporter: any idea of the number of missing? >> i don't know that. i know 160 plus have been treated at local hospitals. we know we have several firefighters that are still missing. we have accounted for the law enforcement official in the hospital in critical condition. we're still looking for the firefighters. >> reporter: thank you very much. we appreciate it. rick swanton, the face informing us all along the way. knows there is a difficult day ahead, john. >> we have seen as you would expect in this type of blast, a lot of lacerations, some small, some large. some puncture wounds, our orthopedic trauma team, we have been taking care of a number of broken bones and dislocated hips and fractured himself, fractured legs, those types of things. we have also -- our
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neurosurgical trauma team, taken care of a handful of patients that have had head injuries. >> we deal with the injured, they have to find those who are unaccounted for, and most of all, this community knows, it's going to be getting a lot of bad news and it will probably spread by word of mouth, by one phone call at a time, because the first responders, the civilians, they are all known in this community, and any loss of any one of them will be felt by all. john. >> a small town when you hear as many as 50 or 60 homes heavily damaged. half the town had to be evacuated. has to be such a blow photo community. more than 1,000 people, any sense where they might stay? when they might be able to get home? >> reporter: well, that's a very good question. for some, those who have had their homes devastated, levels according to some city descriptions, woep be home any
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time soon. those displaced for concern of fire or fumes, that could change once the situation has stabilized. but i think it's safe to say that this is texas, like in many parse of america, disaster strikes, people come from all out to help and they also open the doors. disaster centers opened in waco and elsewhere. they say you will always have a place with us until you can get back on your feet. >> more help on the way with reports from the pentagon. barbara starr saying the national guard on the way. we will find out more information, the scope of the damage in the town of west texas. many victims from last night's blast have been taken to the hillcrest medical center in waco, about 18 miles away. taken for treatment. george howell is there. george, what is the latest? >> john, yeah. at hillcrest hospital, they saw
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the most victims. 101 patients we know of at this point. five in sbnsive care. two in critical condition we understand, and the other three described in serious condition. we heard a minute ago, that sound bite, where you hear the injuries we're talking about. bruises, broken bones, respiratory issues. that's what we're dealing with at this hospital. providence hospital, 65 patients, another nearby hospital. scott & white, five patients, two of them are children in critical condition and we know that there are throw adults, two in critical condition and the other in stable condition wean, and two people taken to dallas' parkland hospital. we know of 170 people rushed to hospitals. it's a fluid situation. we are starting to see daylight,
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investigators, go house by house, door to door, looking for people, looking for survivors, that number could certainly rise. >> and, george, we speak to medical officials overnight. talking about the range of injuries, they were saying most were blast injuries, people affected by that. giant explosion. not many effects of what we were so concerned about, just this ammonia. eye irritation, not much else be side that. >> reporter: no. aside what we're hearing about dealing with respiratory issues, the threat about the anhydrous ammonia, a little less in that neighborhood, in that area. winds have already come through, started on to contain, better control of the situation, the fire, that was the big concern, john. that these winds would come in, the fire had not been -- -- wouldn't be under control and
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that would just spread around the area as the winds picked it up. not the case right now. not the concern, and, you know, priority number one, guys, is to go into homes and look for survivors. >> when we talk about the blast, though, the blast in and of itself, enormous, could cause it's own massive enormous devastation. a seismic event, registered 2.1. could be felt for miles and miles around. some people sent to the parkland hospital in dallas. that's fairly far away, have a sense of why they were sent that far away? >> reporter: you know, we're beginning get information on that the hospitals obviously, and as hospitals can be pretty tightlipped about, you know, conditions of their patients, so we are checking in, they are giving us new information that belongs to us. and we know here at this particular hospital, we should
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have a new update at 3:00 p.m. central time, also know that govern governor perry will have a news update later today. we are looking to those to get more information. we are keeping on the phones also to get new information. >> okay. excellent. george howell at hillcrest medical facility in waco, texas. let's go to the white house. brow anbrianna keilar. the vest division to the deadly bombing attack, and the president is on his way to the city of boston a little bit later this morning for an interfaith service at the cathedral of the holy cross where he will be speaking. brianna. >> reporter: that's right. he will be speaking, john, and we understand he will be giving a message of resolve. we heard him in recent days talk about just some of the moments
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that really think shows that people should be defined by how they respond to a crisis like this, not by the crisis itself. he's talked about people who have run the marathon and even after going through that grueling race, they headed to the hospital to donate blood so that they can be helpful to those victims. talked about that in recent days. we'll hear other examples where he highlights some of the heroic acts that we've seen. he will talk about a message saying that americans shouldn't be deterred by these attacks and certainly be expressing the support of all americans for the city of boston. he'll be speaking about 11:00 a.m. eastern, we're told and he will be there along with a number of dignitaries who have been invited. state and local officials, including a lot of local officials from the community who, along that 26.2-mile
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marathon route, we expect will be represented. first responders, volunteers from the boston athletic association who puts together the marathon. and we've heard from several sources that governor of massachusetts, mitt romney, will be in attendance as well, john. >> all right, briana. that service, that interfaith prayer service here in boston begins at 11:00 a.m. eastern time. cnn brings you that live as it happens. brianna ke anna, thank you. so much going on. ahead, we'll talk more about the devastation in the town of west, texas, after that massive explosion at a fertilizer plant. the fire is still smoldering, still a threat from the possibility of that ammonia substance there, and then we have other information, an arrest following a ricin scare in the capital. what we know about the suspect
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that police say mailed poison letters to the president and a sitting senator. all of that, straight ahead. you're watching "starting point." we went out and asked people a simple question: how old is the oldest person you've known? we gave people a sticker and had them show us. we learned a lot of us have known someone who's lived well into their 90s. and that's a great thing. but even though we're living longer, one thing that hasn't changed: the official retirement age. ♪ the question is how do you make sure you have the money you need to enjoy all of these years. ♪
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the national weather service, just issued a flash flood warning for much of the chicago area. jennifer delgado has more from the severe weather center. what can you tell us? >> hi, christine. we're talking about a flash flood warning. 3 to 5 inches of rain has come down in parts of chicago and central illinois. radar, you can see for yourself, chicago, yes, heavier bands on the way. this will make for a messy commute, and you can see more of the heavy rainfall is still out to the west. what we're dealing with is a flash flood warning. this is in place until 2:00. anywhere in red, chicago, down to quincy, anywhere in red, that means if you are driving on the roadway, it doesn't take much to lose control of your car, so make sure are yyou are taking e precaution. a big area your honor tunder th flood warnings. a good portion of the midwest.
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kansas city, indianapolis, a lot of places affected by this. we've seen 3 to 5 inches of rain fallen in the last 24 hours for chicago. a dangerous situation there. we're setting up for another day of severe storms. moderate risk category, including chicago, detroit, memphis. and, of course, we'll continue to follow the storms moving through parts of west texas. we'll send it back over to you, christine. busy day weatherwise. >> let's head back to boston now, where john berman is standing by. hi, john. >> all right. thank you so much, christine. so much new. new developments in what authorities are calling a possible break into the investigation. into the boston marathon terror attacks. focus right now this morning is on two men, caught on surveillance cameras right near the finish line. pictures from cameras at a lord & taylor department store roof near the site of the second blast and also from a local television station. in these images, one of the men
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is reportedly seen carrying a black backpack. remember, three people killed in the blasts of the 178 injured, 66 still in the hospital. 13 still in critical condition. later this morning, the public will get a chance to gather, to pray, to grieve together. at an interfaith prayer service in boston. cathedral at the holy cross. president obama and the first lady traveling to boston later this morning. attend the memorial service, which will honor the victims of the bombings in boston. other dignitaries there. former governor mitt romney, michael dukakis, and tpamela brown, live outside the cathedral with more on today's service. good morning, pamela. >> good morning, john. members of the public began lining up right outside the cathedral of the holy cross around 4:30 this morning. the line continues to grow. several blocks down as far as the eye can see. we spoke to members of the
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public in that line, people were here for different reasons, but there is a sense that everyone here is united in grief. some saying they are hoping for a message of hope. comforting words for president obama, but everyone we spoke with says they are here to show their compassion for the victims of monday's tragedy and that is expected to be a big part of president owe became becama's message, focusing on victims and their families. late yesterday afternoon, boston university officially released the name of the third victim killed, a 23-year-old graduate student and chinese national by the name of lingzi lu, studying mathematics and statistics. known as excellent student with a bubbly personality. she joined three friends at the marathon monday. she was standing at the finish line when the bomb went off. one friend was injured, and after that, a frantic search for
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lingzi. her loss sent shock waves throughout the b.u. campus. it has a strong international community. one student helped organize a memorial service for lingzi. >> i am a student from china. i am a grad student here. so it's just like i were killed. i was really close to that bomb blast. i was like 200 meters away from it, so if i was the one, how my friends would feel, how my parents will feel. >> reporter: students at boston university we spoke to, calling lingzi's death devastating. some seeking counseling after her death and we also have also learned this morning that lingzi's parents may be en route to the u.s. from china and that they received d an expedited vi
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according to the state department. 8-year-old martin richard, the face of the tragedy, captured the hearts of so many people and kris krystle campbell. president obama will speak about the victims and the first responders there. we are expected to hear a strong message from him, a message of compassion. >> all right, pamela brown, thank you so much from the cathedral of the holy across. interfaith service will begin at 11:00. the president will be leaving washington shortly for the service. one of the events we're covering today. so much going on in the world. covering breaking news all morning from the town of west texas. 18 miles away from waco. massive explosion at a fertilizer plant there. ammonia gas, possibly a threat, still, the fire smoldering in this town. the search and rescue continues,
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back to "starting point." new developments in the ricin scare in the nation's capital. a suspect has been arrested. identified at paul curtis of mississippi. he sent the letters to president obama and mississippi senator roger wicker. they were intercepted at a mail processing facility after tests indicated the presence of the deadly poison. the letters are undergoing additional testing. >> north korea threatening "sledgehammer blows" to the u.s.
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and south korea unless a list of demands are met. it will only sit down to talk if u.n. sanctions lifted. and the u.s. must stop military drills in south korea and apologize. south korea calls the demands preposterous. back to you, john, in boston. >> thank you, christine that is all for "starting point." stay with cnn for continuing coverage of all today's events, fertilizer plant explosion in west texas, of course. the latest from there, and stay with us for special live coverage of the interfaith prayer service in boston. that begins at 11:00 a.m. eastern time. "newsroom" continues with special coverage right now. omer? describe the first time you met. you brought the flex in... as soon as i met fiona and i was describing the problem we were having with our rear brakes, she immediately triaged the situation, knew exactly what was wrong with it, the car was diagnosed properly, it was fixed correctly i have confidence knowing that if i take to ford it's going to be done correctly with the right parts and the right people. get a free brake inspection and
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good morning. i'm wolf blitzer in boston with special coverage of a truly remarkable morning of news. we'd like to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. we have two major stories we're following right now. first, truly disastrous morning, up near waco, texas. explosion there in texas.